Live ecommerce events are the latest and greatest innovation to hit the ecommerce industry. Live shopping is the perfect mix of the in-person experience of brick-and-mortar shopping and the convenience of ecommerce.
The advent of live shopping has created a whole new avenue for influencer marketing—hosting a live event. Influencers introduce a brand’s products and engage with their audience.
Some of the most successful examples of live shopping have used influencers to host their events. Cosmetic brand Maybelline worked with Angelababy, a Hong Kong model, actress, and singer, along with 50 other influencers, to launch their latest lipstick in China. In just two hours, they sold 10,600 Lip Flush Oil lipsticks and had over six million viewers tune in to the event.
Bringing in an influencer can bring in a large audience ready to spend on products endorsed by their favorite social media personalities. But is choosing an influencer or celebrity always the right choice? Not necessarily.
A 2021 survey conducted by Forrester Consulting found that when given the choice of social media influencers, celebrities, product influencers, and local product experts, most people wanted to watch content hosted by product experts.
The importance of your event host
If you are new to live commerce, finding the right person to host your events can add another layer to the inevitable learning curve. Choosing a host for your live shopping event is a huge decision—they are the person who will run your event, engage with your audience, and hopefully convert them to make purchases.
Before you start planning your event, you must decide what kind of host is best. There are two broad categories of potential hosts: in-house brand experts and, you guessed it, influencers.
Let’s unpack the pros and cons of brand experts and influencers so that you can find the perfect host for your next live commerce event.
The pros and cons of leveraging influencers
It’s clear that influencers can add an extra boost to your sales and views, making them an excellent choice for hosting your event. Here’s how they can help—or hinder—your event.
Pro: They help you tap into a new, like-minded audience
When you hire an influencer to be the face of your live commerce event, you can tap into their audience. Trusted influencers have loyal followings excited to learn about the products the influencers love. When you find the right influencer for your brand, their audience will quickly become fans of your brand.
The key is finding an influencer with a community that resonates with your brand’s values, goals, and ideal client.
Pro: They are used to being in front of the camera
Being comfortable in front of the camera is a skill that takes time to develop. One of the great things about working with influencers is they are camera-ready—they are the face of their brand and are used to putting themselves out there.
When you work with a seasoned influencer, you can be sure they will have experience in front of the camera and won’t have that awkward learning curve.
Con: They don’t have intimate knowledge of your brand and product
While an influencer can bring in a whole new audience to your live commerce event, they will have a different knowledge of your brand and your products than an in-house expert.
If you work with an influencer as your host, be sure to provide them with a brand package to help them learn the ins and outs as best they can. Also, if they are using products in the live event, send them beforehand so they can use them and ask any questions before the stream begins.
Con: They can be expensive
An influencer host can be expensive, depending on your budget and the influencer you hope to work with. The good news is that there are tiers of influencers with different pricing based on their following and engagement rates.
Consider all types of influencers, with all levels of followings, when planning your event. Here is a breakdown of the types of influencers:
- Nano-influencers—1k to 10k
- Micro-influencers—10k to 100k
- Macro-influencers—100k to 1 million
- Mega-influencers—1 million+
The pros and cons of leveraging in-house brand experts
A lot of the cons of hiring an influencer are the pros of working with an in-house brand or product expert. Brands are starting to see the power of having someone with in-depth knowledge about their products at the helm of their live commerce events.
Pro: They speak from a place of authority
Who knows your brand and products better than the people who work with them daily? Having a brand expert host your live event brings a deep sense of trustworthiness to the event and the products being shared.
The authenticity an in-house brand expert brings can’t be replicated by an influencer.
Pro: They are already on the payroll
Depending on their role within your organization, running the live commerce events could be incorporated into their job description. Social media managers, communications directors, store associates, or even customer support associates are excellent examples of roles that can easily take on hosting responsibilities.
Con: Your reach may be limited
Without the benefit of a built-in audience, you may find that having a relatively unknown brand expert hosting your live shopping event limits your reach. And if not, at the very least, it isn’t expanding your reach.
That being said, working with a dedicated expert who becomes your brand ambassador can help you establish your brand in a place of authority in your industry and with your audience.
So, should you choose a brand expert or influencer?
When it comes down to it, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each host for your business. Collaborating with influencers can help you reach a wider audience and drive sales. But it can be expensive. With a brand expert, you can keep costs low, develop a direct relationship with your audience, and keep it all in-house.
And remember, what works for your brand now might not be the best thing in a year or two or three. Starting with an in-house expert may be the way to start your live commerce journey, but down the road working with an influencer might begin to make more sense.
Be open to innovating, changing, and doing what is best for your brand!
If you’re ready to create your live shopping event, Stage TEN is here to help—mistake-free! Create a live stream, add audience interactions, and monetize it all in one place.
Livestream e-commerce with Stage TEN gives you the power to not only sell your products live but also allows you to truly interact with your audience. Using live polling, voting, and pulling comments directly onto your live stream, your customers will feel like they are actively participating in your event… because they are!
If you’re ready to go live with your brand today, let’s partner!